This study investigates pause duration between and within utterances in the speech of 20 people with different degrees and types of aphasia: 15 with fluent aphasia and five with nonfluent aphasia. It also examines within utterance pause durations as a function of utterance position. Using aphasia speech samples collected in a previous study by Harmon (2018), Praat acoustic analysis software was used to segment words and periods of pause and measure pause duration within and between utterances. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, including pause duration mean, standard deviations, and interquartile range. Speech pauses were also categorized by the percentage of pause durations greater than 250 ms, 500 ms, 750 ms, and one second. Nonfluent aphasia presents higher mean durations of both between and within utterance pauses than fluent aphasia. Speakers with fluent and nonfluent aphasia subtypes exhibit a larger proportion of pauses longer than one second between utterances than within them. Between utterances, there is a positive association between increase in aphasia severity and an increase in pause duration. Within utterances, speech from individuals with moderately severe aphasia have longer mean pause durations than mild or very mild cases. Individuals with both fluent and nonfluent aphasia demonstrate increased pause durations in the initial sentence position. Further research will provide insight into how this compares with typical speech and how these pause patterns affect the communicative effectiveness of the speaker.
College and Department
David O. McKay School of Education
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Thomas, Brooke K., "Quantifying Speech Pause Durations in Speakers With Nonfluent and Fluent Aphasia" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 8939.
speech pause, aphasia, prosody, nonfluent, fluent